Friday, 19 June 2015

Faceless Techno & Philippe Petit's Multicoloured Shadows

Oh I'm sooo controversial.
I'm an old fart too who looks at all the names put to new releases and doesn't know more than ten per cent of them. It's like the old days when I'd stopped reading the NME but picked it up again and didn't recognise one name.
Except it's different.
And I have a good excuse, the same one as you, which is to say that roughly a trillion albums are released each week
(if putting them on Souncloud or Bandcamp counts as a 'release', which I suspect it does)
and it's impossible to 'keep up'. There is no keeping up.
Not like the old days when scenes were what the ink press covered/co-created. Because they could. Because it was possible to have a scene built from five bands. Even in Swindon. Or Bristol.

Back then in another universe LFO made the front page of the NME... was 1992 and the notion that Techno could be pitted against Rock was a laugh, or a viable notion in the minds of music editors wanting to cause a stir. Perhaps it was something worth discussing, although as far as I know Techno, unlike Disco, never infuriated Rockers to the point of filling a stadium in protest... they did in 1979, spurred on by Chicago DJ, Steve Dahl, who encouraged Disco haters to attend a baseball game.

Trad types moaned about 'faceless Techno', as if having your mush photographed and plastered in the press validated you. They hated Techno partly because it's creators were prolific. Surely so much music meant a lack of quality? Anything that could be knocked out crafted in a night by a kid in his bedroom had to be rubbish. Right? 
What about it?
Today we all know that one Suburban Bass single is worth more than the Yes discography, don't we? 
But I jump in time.
I was pre-Jungle. 
But I was thinking today about how House and Techno's torrent of twelves was a dribble compared to today's electronic output. 
It's not a scene, even though some people might visit Resident Advisor every day for the security (limit) blanket of believing that in doing so they know everything that's going on - they don't.
What's going on is so vast that nobody can know it all.
So it's not because I'm 'getting old'.

As Techno grew so did the music editors' dreams of making new stars.
And some Techno-makers obliged because they wanted to be stars and make loads of money.
So they played Glastonbury.
Played Glastonbury again.

Techno became Dance Music which, as you know, conquered the world. 
History lesson - ha-ha.

Today electronic music runs so deep (underground) that a supposedly 'hip' magazine such as The Wire has no chance of even skimming the surface. Which is not to say it still isn't a good read. But no matter how many review columns they create they'll never keep up.

Perhaps they'll get 'round to covering Philippe Petit's Multicoloured Shadows (Aagoo). Then again, it could get lost. It deserves coverage.
More than a non-review in this little online shack.

Here's a funny coincidence: having just bought The Travel Agency Is On Fire I read a few days later that Petit likes to call himself a 'musical travel agent' - well, well. 
So here's the trip he's organised for you. 
It covers a lot of terrain, as explored by Stockhausen, Pierre Henry & Schaeffer plus more.
You'll experience some turbulence 
and strange, exotic sounds...
mad loops...alien warbles...

The thing is that, after listening to so much music in 30-second try-outs (it doesn't take long to determine the worth of something - you know how it is - 'click' - next - 'click' etc.) this turned my ears. Really. I knew it was worth listening to - properly. 
Irony: Petit is, by electronic music standards, an 'old fart', a dinosaur (for 30(?) years?) - must be because, unlike Rock stars, he's seriously into sound, not just making another hit album. Because he'll never have a hit. He can't be tainted by adoring the sound of cash tills ringing (showing my age), I mean mouse clicks on the Buy button, which is the same thing.

This is a brilliant album. I'm being terribly modern by not actually reviewing it, aren't I? No tracks available to stream (oh, very underground!). Trust me, it's worth your time.
So to finish and reconnect with Burroughs, here is Language Virus...

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